Dani people or Ndani (Another Name), are the indigenous people who live in central highlands of western New Guinea, Wamena, Papua province located in Indonesia. Although they are considered as Catholic religion, Dani people are still held their ceremonial traditions that live among their ancient heritage. Dani people are also being called as Parim people and have great respect for their ancestors which leads them still having to live in “Stone Age”.
Danis’ are still keep in traditional of what their ancestor did like grew root crops, raised pigs and used polished stone axes.
Unique features which differentiate them
Papua’s indigenous peoples are wearing koteka clothes. For male, their penis is put with something made of a hollowed gourd. The size and type of koteka does not related to the status of user. Many ethnic groups in Papua are distinguished by their way of wearing koteka. The women wore the clothes made by grass and live in Honai-honai, which is a hut with reeds.
The traditional houses of Papua are unique. In Papua, the traditional house, called Honai, is rounded with a coarse grass roof and wooden walls without windows.
In Dani’s culture, yams and pigs are the most important thing in their society because Yam is being used as a bartering tool and become important thing for dowries. Likewise the pig is playing the important role for some ceremonies.
Papua’s tribal and cultural history is about their mummies.They preserved with traditional ingredients in order to glorify their historical or religious importance. There are 3 mummies that can be seen in Papua; Aikima Mummy at Aikama, Jiwika Mummy at Jiwika, and Purno Mummy at Asologaima. The three mummies are located in Wamena.
Religious Belief of Danis’
The Grand Valley Dani explains most of their ritual is to appease the restless ghosts of their own recent dead. These ghosts are potentially dangerous and cause misfortune like illness, and death. Hence, attempts are made to keep them far off in the forest. Dani also believe in local land and water spirits and men are known for their magical curing powers.
Ceremonies celebrated in the olden times
During war time in olden days, there were ceremonies in celebrating the death of an enemy or funerals for people killed by the enemy. At the cremation ceremony for someone killed in battle, one or two fingers of several girls would be chopped off as sacrifices to the ghost of the dead person. The mutilated hands of women can still be seen in Dani villages nowadays, despite the fact that missionaries tried to purge them of this custom.
However, for men, they might chop off their own fingers or cut off the tips of their ears, but these actions were signs of personal sacrifice and mourning. Funeral ceremonies as well as wedding ceremonies continued at intervals after the main event. Both were concluded in the great pig feast held every four to six years, in which the entire alliance participated.
when their relative die, the women will dye their face with Mud. As shown >>
The Grand Valley Dani have no art other than decorations on arrow points and personal ornaments of furs, feathers, and shells. Formal oratory was not important, but casual storytelling was a well-developed skill.